Real Madrid have dominated recent H2Hs, they lost to Athletic in last season’s semi-final, so there’ll be no complacency, particularly as coach Carlo Ancelotti has never won this trophy.
The first silverware of the season is up for grabs as the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia sees Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid clash in the Spanish Super Cup final. As the former defend their 2020/21 title, the latter seek their 12th Super Cup success – which would leave them one behind their fierce rivals, Barcelona. Having already seen off one capital-based club to get here, Athletic enter their sixth Super Cup final on a four-match unbeaten run in all competitions since losing to Madrid in late December. The action in those fixtures has tended to come in bursts as four of the last five halves they’ve played were goalless.
The ‘Lions’ haven’t fared well against Madrid recently, losing each of the last three H2Hs by a single-goal margin. That suggests another tight affair could ensue, as does the fact that both finals since the tournament switched to a four-team format ended up going to extra-time.
Madrid also needed the extra period to beat Barcelona 3-2 in the semi-final, but they’re now on a run of three consecutive competitive victories, averaging three goals per game at the 90-minute mark. Although ‘Los Blancos’ have dominated recent H2Hs, they lost to Athletic in last season’s semi-final, so there’ll be no complacency, particularly as coach Carlo Ancelotti has never won this trophy. While he seeks to add this title to his glittering CV, his opposite number Marcelino has already ticked it off with last year’s success. However, Ancelotti has never been on the losing side in a managerial H2H and has only ever lost once to Athletic.
Nico Williams has netted three goals in Athletic’s last three matches, including the winner against Atlético, but Madrid’s semi-final hero Vinicius Junior can better that, having scored three times across their last two fixtures. Three of the last four H2Hs saw more goals before half-time than after.